Eagles sweep Spartans in league finale

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Jackie Wang goes for the kill while Mountain View’s Eleonore Johansen, center, and Lauren Price put up a block.

It’s going to take more than a few broken toes to prevent Los Altos High’s Kat Mumm from playing volleyball – especially against rival Mountain View in the league finale.

The outside hitter played through the pain to help the Eagles sweep the Spartans Thursday.

“It was really fine up until today,” said Mumm, who broke two toes running liners in practice the week before. “Then today it was just like, ‘Oh, no’ – but it’s OK.”

She still racked up eight kills and two blocks in Los Altos’ 29-27, 25-21, 25-23 road win.

“Kat’s a trooper,” her coach Peter Kim said. “She’s a senior and wants to go out with a bang.”

Mumm came up with a big kill in the marathon first set that tied the score at 22, snapping a three-point run by Mountain View. The teams traded points until 24-all, when Kaitlyn Wong’s ace put the Eagles up one. Payton Shaffer answered with a kill for the Spartans and teammate Lauren Price followed with one of her own to give Mountain View a 26-25 lead.

Lauren Limbach’s kill down the middle tied it, but the Spartans got the lead back when Los Altos’ next serve landed in the net.

Again on the verge of winning, Mountain View couldn’t put the set away. Los Altos rattled off three straight points, starting with a spike by Hanadi Nassif, who totaled a match-high 17 kills. Setter Kate Carlson followed with an ace and the Eagles won when the Spartans’ next kill attempt went wide.

“It was a battle,” Kim said, “but we played well enough to pull it out.”

Los Altos led for most of the second set – by as many as six points – before Mountain View tied it at 17 on Aidan O’Leary’s kill. But the Eagles scored six of the next eight points (two on Limbach kills) to go up 23-19.

Eleonore Johansen, whose nine kills tied Shaffer for the team high, then scored off a block. That’s as close as the Spartans got. Mumm’s back-row kill made it 24-20 and after Los Altos was called for an illegal touch, Mountain View returned the favor to end the set.

The Spartans refused to surrender, however. They built a 15-9 advantage in the third set behind four points by Shaffer and stellar setting from her big sister Sam.

It wasn’t enough to hold off the resilient Eagles. They went on a 12-4 run to take the lead. Nassif contributed three kills – highlighted by a cross-court blast – along with an ace during that span.

Host Mountain View regrouped to tie the set at 23, but Limbach’s block for a point and a Spartan shot that went long ended it.

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone was focused on the score, and I think that’s why we were able to win,” Mumm said of the comeback. “We weren’t dejected by the fact that we were down 15-9.”

There was plenty of dejection on the Mountain View side, though.

“When we lost the first set, which was close, that was a tough one,” coach Dave Winn said. “The second set was worse, when we had chances to win and didn’t do it. The third, again, 23-all and we make two errors to end, which was unfortunate.”

Winn said the Spartans have struggled throughout league to hold leads (1-5 in five-setters) – a sign of their youth (one senior).

Although Mountain View finished last in the SCVAL De Anza Division, the team still made the CCS Division II playoffs. The ninth-seeded Spartans (19-15) open at No. 8 Woodside 7 p.m. today.

Los Altos (21-14) is the fifth seed in Division I and moves directly to the quarterfinals to face host Piedmont Hills 7 p.m. Saturday.

Lancers in CCS Open

St. Francis is the fourth seed in the Open Division, which takes the top eight teams – regardless of school size. The Lancers (22-13) meet No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral 4 p.m. Saturday in the quarterfinals at Milpitas.

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